Monday, August 29, 2011

Natural Dye - Attempt #1

I suppose it was destined that being a dyer I would eventual be drawn to trying natural dying methods with things I can easily find.  Yesterday, was my first attempt at Natural Dying.  I'm not very pleased with the results, but I vow to give it a second and probably third and fourth go round too;)  

Early in the AM, I set black beans to soak to pull all the dye goodness out of the beans.  I've read that the bean should soak over night, but in all honesty, I found that 12 hours was enough to get all the color out of the beans.  I know this because the beans are, 24+ hours later, still soaking in the tub and are no longer leaching color.  
For the mordant, I started by following a very basic mordant recipe using 10% Alum and  5% Cream of Tartar (sometimes referred to as COT in the natural dying community) of the fiber to be dyed's weight.  The yarn I used was a light fingering weight  and I used a total of 6 ounces or 200 grams.  That means I needed 20 grams of Alum, 10 grams of COT and enough water to completely cover the wool to be mordanted.  The mix with wool simmered for 2 hours.  Directions were for 90 minutes, but I can be absent minded at times.  I want to say right now, that next time I do this, it will be either in the garage or outside as it gave the house a slightly pungent aroma.

After the mordant, the yarn was rinsed and put in the dye bath.  From there it was simmered for about 3-4 hours.  I was so darn excited as the yarn was turning a beautiful dusty blue color and I had read in the Natural Dying forums on Ravelry that if you let it sit over night there would be more color take up.  So, I left the yarn to sit over night in the dye bath.  I really wish at this point I had take a picture of the yarn.  It was beautiful!

Naturally, I ran down stairs first thing this morning to check my yarn.  As I pulled off the lid with child-like anticipation, I was greeted with grey.  Not a rich grey, not a pale grey, just grey with a bare hint of green.  Really!?!  At what point in time did my little gremin hop up on the counter top and mess with what was supposed to be a lovely blue yarn.  Grey.  

I'm a bit disappointed, but I'm not giving up on natural dying just yet.  I have some carrot tops in the fridge just begging to be thrown in the dye pot for the next go round!  Keep your fingers crossed we get a color other than grey.


Delighted Hands said...

I am smiling-not because yours turned out to be a bit disappointing but because this is how it has gone for me with natural dyes! Your attitude is good-it might be ahead right now but there is always next time!!!

csndyrn said...

I too am just trying natural dyeing. I have been a gardener most of my life but look at those flower bed in a different light. I am trying the red and pink hibiscus flower and Queen Anne's lace and some Lace flowerettes with late daylily blooms. Waiting on yarn to dye that I have ordered so they are in my fridge right now. Going to work on it this weekend and will let you know how it goes.

LunabudKnits said...

Thinking o trying Queen Anne's Lace next week. And possibly Joe-Pye Weed and Goldenrod. Haven't heard of the daylilys giving dye. Will have to look into that one for next year:) Have to say, I have already started to collect seeds for next years garden.

Other Fun Facts..................

I taught myself to knit by watching a woman while on a flight from Scotland to the USA in 1996.

I taught myself how to spin yarn Feb 15th, 2007. I think I've done fairly well:)

'Lunabud' is a combination of two dogs' names I was loved by, Buddy and Luna:)